U-Drive Railway Adventure

Code udrive2019
Duration 4 days 3 nights

Three modes of Transport on Rails!  This is something truly unique!  An enterprising Kiwi has imported 2 and 4-seater Golf Carts and converted them to run on rails!  They are known as Railcarts, and we now have the opportunity to travel by rail, driving ourselves, over 80kms on the now disused NZ Railways Stratford Branch Line between Okahukura (near Taumaranui) and Whangamomona.  This will be our fifth year operating these tours.  This tour is a lot of fun!

$1,543 Per Person  Incl. Coach Transport.  Full day Railcart tour with local guide.  Tawhiti Museum, Sugarloaf Islands Lifeboat Cruise, Train Te Kuiti to Auckland.  Accom. at Taumaranui, Whangamomona and New Plymouth. 3x Dinners, 3x Cooked Breakfasts, plus picnic lunch on Railcart.  Single Room Supplement +$273.  A deposit of $400 is required to secure this booking, with balance of payment due 4 weeks prior to departure, by Thu 17th Oct 2019.

Contact SHIP n SHORE Tours for a Detailed Itinerary

NORTH SHORE Residents:  THU 14th to SUN 17th NOV 2019

 

HIBISCUS COAST Residents: THU 21st to SUN 24th NOV 2019 

 

U-Drive Itinerary

Thursday:  Auckland to Taumaranui  D

Departing Auckland we head south, with a comfort stop at Drury, before continuing on through Huntly, till we turn off at Ngaruawahia onto SH31 which takes us through the back roads to our late lunch stop at Otorohanga.  This afternoon we travel through the sheep shearing town of Te Kuiti and then over the hill to Eight Mile Junction.  Here we turn onto SH4, which leads us into the heart of the King Country and our overnight accommodation, Forgotten World Motel, in the town of Taumarunui on the upper Whanganui River.   Dinner tonight at the Taumarunui RSA.

Forgotten World Motel, Taumarunui                                               

 

Friday:  By Railcart to Whangamomona  BLD

After an early cooked breakfast our coach takes us to the railhead at the old Okahukura Station where we are briefed on the operation and safety aspects of our Railcart.  We begin our Railcart adventure at 8.30am.  These are 2 and 4-seaters, and everyone who wants to, will have a turn at being engine-driver during the course of the day.  Shortly after leaving, we pass through our first tunnel – and it’s a beauty – just under a kilometre long!  And that’s just the first of twenty-one tunnels we’ll pass through today!  Mid-morning we make a halt for billy tea, and at Tokirima a stop for our picnic lunch.  The afternoon sees us travelling alongside rivers, crossing bridges and viaducts, with a stop at Tangarakau, deep in the middle of nowhere, for an afternoon refreshment.   At 4.30pm we roll into Whangamomona, having travelled over 70 kilometres on a railway track under our own steam, through some of NZ’s most scenic, remote landscapes.   A short walk (or a ride in the SHIP ’n SHORE coach which has arrived with our luggage) takes us to our overnight accommodation in the wonderful old Whangamomona Hotel.  We enjoy the hotel’s 100 year old reputation for hospitality deep in the bush, and an excellent hot dinner.  The bar is open..... and when we turn in, the beds are warm and inviting (see “Whangamomona Hotel” under General Information on page 4). 

Whangamomona Hotel     

Saturday: Tawhiti Museum, Around Mt Taranaki to New Plymouth  BD

This morning we travel (by coach) the Forgotten Highway, from Whangamomona all the way through to the Shakespeare town of Stratford, following streams and rivers through magnificent pastureland.  This is still very remote country, with the view ahead of us being dominated by the growing symmetrical cone of the 8,261’ dormant (not extinct!) volcano, Mt. Taranaki.  What a great sight!  After reaching Stratford we head south and mid morning arrive at Tawhiti Museum, often described as ‘the museum for those who don’t normally visit museums!”.  With spectacular life-sized figures, this museum has scooped many tourism awards….there’s even a short indoor Traders and Whalers boat cruise!  Early afternoon we begin our drive right around Mt Taranaki starting at Hawera, we head clockwise following SH45, The Surf Highway, through the coastal areas of Manaia, Opunake and the pretty little village of Oakura enjoying the rugged open-ocean surf beaches along the way.  All the while looking out the right hand side of the coach at this stunning mountain!  

…….Saturday continued …..

Soon we arrive at one of our favourite New Zealand cities, New Plymouth, and just in time to join Chaddy for a one-hour cruise on his launched-on-rails historic English Lifeboat to the Sugar Loaf Islands!  He supplies lifejackets, wet-weather gear, and a good humoured commentary on the Port of New Plymouth, and the islands which are fascinating volcanic lava remnants of the eruptions that formed Mt Taranaki.  It’s nearing the end of the day and time to check in at our Four-Star Plymouth International Hotel.  Because we’ve been coming here for many years with the Rhododendron tours, this feels like our second home.  We’ll be well fed and watered!

Plymouth International Hotel

 

Sunday.  Coastal Walkway and Northern Explorer Train home B

This morning we are off to see the amazing Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, which links New Plymouth City to Bell Block on the Coastal Walkway.  Those die-hards amongst you can walk back into town (allow 75 minutes) following this scenic path, which is an asset to Taranaki.  Those with not so much puff can do the best 45minutes from the Surf Club to the city.  Definitely worth doing some or all of it.  (But, if you don’t wish to walk you can still hop out and take a look at the Te Rewa Rewa bridge and then be driven into town.)  At the end of the walkway, walk through the tunnel, under the busy road to the Centre City Mall, Puke Ariki Museum and some may even like to wander two blocks over to the Govett Brewster Museum with its recently opened Len Lye (designer of the Wind Wand) Centre.  Late morning we board our coach and head north through Bell Block, Waitara, through the Mt Messenger tunnel and up the coast, with incredible scenery on our left.  At Mokau we make a stop (Whitebait Fritters anyone?), then on to Awakino and alongside its river, to PioPio, and Te Kuiti where our coach sets us down at the station.  At 3.20pm the Northern Explorer Train makes a special stop for us.  If you haven’t been on this new train before, you’re in for a nice surprise!  We have a fast run (only 3½ hours) through to Auckland, due to arrive at 6.45pm.  Our SHIP n SHORE coach meets us at the old Auckland Railway Station and takes us home.

 

Three modes of Transport on Rails!  This is something truly unique!  An enterprising Kiwi has imported 2 and 4-seater Golf Carts and converted them to run on rails!  They are known as Railcarts, and we now have the opportunity to travel by rail, driving ourselves, over 80kms on the now disused NZ Railways Stratford Branch Line between Okahukura (near Taumaranui) and Whangamomona.  This will be our fifth year operating these tours.  This tour is a lot of fun!

*Take your turn at driving a Railcart over 70kms from the King Country into Taranaki on the “Forgotten Railway!”  21 tunnels, innumerable bridges and viaducts, rivers, rapids, gorges, remote bush country!  

*Spend a night in the Republic of Whangamomona’s wonderful 100 year old Pub!

*Travel right around the 8,261’ dormant volcano - Mount Taranaki/Egmont

*Cruise New Plymouth’s Sugarloaf Islands with Chaddy in his English Lifeboat.

*Enjoy a fast ride home on the new Northerner Explorer train from Te Kuiti to Auckland.

 

$1,543 Per Person  Incl. Coach Transport.  Full day Railcart tour with local guide.  Tawhiti Museum, Sugarloaf Islands Lifeboat Cruise, Train Te Kuiti to Auckland.  Accom. at Taumaranui, Whangamomona and New Plymouth. 3x Dinners, 3x Cooked Breakfasts, plus picnic lunch on Railcart.  Single Room Supplement +$273.  A deposit of $400 is required to secure this booking, with balance of payment due 4 weeks prior to departure, by Thu 17th Oct 2019.

Ship 'n Shore Tours and Cruises specialise in fully escorted 'Day and Away' tours for retirees, featuring a free door-to-door pick up service for Hibiscus Coast and North Shore residents (others by arrangement). 
A one day outing or away for several?  Regular newsletters offer variety, making the decision to travel on your own or as a couple an easy one.  

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WHANGAPARAOA 0943, New Zealand

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